While the current round of Redskins name-change stories may have run its course, I promised several readers that I would be as aggressive in recording defenses of the team name as I was in recording attacks on the team name.
And so: Jeff Bostic. The longtime Hog — one of the greatest offensive linemen in team history — was playing in Mark Rypien’s charity poker tournament on Thursday
charity golf tournament on Friday when Jake Russell asked about the team name issue.
“Let’s get down to the core. This is a game,” Bostic told Russell. “Everybody we’re talking about is a sports organization. It’s a team. It’s a game. They’re nothing more than mascots. That’s all we’re trying to represent. Good bad and indifferent, the Redskins have had that identity since 1937 so it’s been there for a long time. Why don’t we change the name of the Indians? Why don’t we call them ‘The First People That Inhabited America’ and take the Indian out? And then we won’t have any conflict. How do we always go to the organization and tell them to change? Why don’t you tell the people to change?”
Within a few hours after these quotes were published, Bostic was on 106.7 The Fan’s LaVar and Dukes show, to offer an even longer version of this opinion. (Listen to the segment here.)
“Number one, where is the American public entitled to tell someone that is a business owner what they will or will not name their team?” Bostic asked. “And secondly, show me where the Redskins name has been offensive to the Native Americans, in any way shape or form? I mean, I’ve been a part of the Redskins family since 1980, and I haven’t noticed anything where there’s a demeaning or degrading [slant], anything that does anything but make the Native Americans be esteemed. I’m sorry. What am I missing?…
“I mean, let’s have some common sense in this country,” he continued. “We’re talking about the Washington Redskins. This is one of the organizations in the National Football League, to me, that [is] one of the top five or six teams, the class of the league. Tell me what they’re doing in their mascot that is so offensive to everybody else? Let me ask the question: when you say you’re offended by the mascot name, give me some examples of why. That’s what I haven’t heard. It’s offensive to the Native Americans: why? Tell me specifically what the Redskins have done to make the nickname Redskins so offensive? Have we portrayed the Native American in a less than glamorous light?”
Chad Dukes at some point suggested that critics might argue the word itself is offensive, regardless of how the Redskins have used it.
“Show me how the Redskins themselves – not the name – show me how the representation of the name Redskins in the WASHINGTON Redskins has ANY negative connotation,” Bostic requested. “ANY negative connotation, any small part of a negative connotation. Show me any part of that. And if you will, I’ll be more than glad to listen to you….
“At the end of the day, I still get back to one point: tell me where the Redskin organization has EVER – not one time, two times – EVER presented the Native American in anything other than a glamorous light. If you can answer that, that’s all I need to hear.”
“You know, I’m a Caucasian,” Bostic later said. “If they call them the Washington Caucasians, I’m good with it. I’m sorry. Tell me what I’m missing.”
Finally, Dukes suggested that some critics may not like the image on the side of the team’s helmets.
“Well, put the R back on it,” Bostic said, which I would support even aside from this discussion. “This helmet’s had many different logos on it. But I will say this: in the 33 years since I first walked foot into Redskins Park, I have NEVER known the Redskins organization to be anything other than first class. And as far as the representation of the nickname and the mascot? It’s been unwavering. Nothing but excellence. The only thing we know with the Redskins Family, Redskins Nation is excellence. And there’s never a degrading or berating [suggestion], or anything in any of that tone. So if this is offensive to people, let’s get specific and tell me why.”
Perhaps not surprisingly, Bostic also said he would never change the team name.